Ministry of Information and Broadcasting introduces 'New Media Wing'

NEW DELHI: Almost a year after guidelines were framed for the use of social media by government agencies and citizen engagement for e-governance projects, the proposal for establishing a ‘New Media Wing’ in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for publicising its initiatives through multiple social media platforms has received the official nod.

The move has come even as the government is gearing itself for the general elections next year. Both All India Radio and Doordarshan launched its new series yesterday to highlight the initiatives of the government.

According to the proposal approved by the union cabinet, the new wing to be headed by a joint secretary level officer would address the communication and dissemination requirements of the government on social media platforms. The wing would integrate the communication tools horizontally and vertically through various social media platforms.

The proposal for establishment of new media wing has been drawn on the basis of the experience of the initiative undertaken by the ministry recently, on a pilot basis to position itself on the social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The administrative and operational support will be provided by a unit under the ministry – the Research Reference and Training Division - which would be the new wing.

The expenditure for establishing the wing and the recurring expenditure thereon would cost the exchequer an amount of Rs 22.5 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan (1012-17) which has been approved by the cabinet committee for economic affairs under the development communication and information dissemination plan scheme of the ministry.

In August last year, the government had issued framework and guidelines to enable the various agencies to create and implement their own strategy for the use of social media. The document was to help them to make an informed choice about the objective, platforms, resources, etc. to meet the requirement of interaction with their varied stakeholders.

The official statement had then said, “As more and more projects are getting implemented, an increasing need has been felt for wider and deeper participation of an engagement with all stakeholders to ensure that citizen centricity is maintained in all projects. There is now a consensus that citizen participation and civic engagement are the building blocks for good governance and e-governance is a critical component of good governance.

It had added that, “Media is transforming the way in which people connect with each other and the manner in which information is shared and distributed. While at a personal level, the uptake and usage of social media is gaining rapid popularity, use and utility of such media for official purpose remain ambiguous. Many apprehensions remain including, but not limited to, issues related to authorisation to speak on behalf of department/ agency, technologies and platform to be used for communication, scope of engagement, creating synergies between different channels of communication, compliance with existing legislations etc.”

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